Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Amusement


Spinning swings always got me going.

Monday, December 27, 2010





Parasol. For obvious reasons.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

An Endless Supply of Food




Japanese food. Mom feared that I wouldn't survive the United States without it. Both parents sent boxes of non-perishable food all the way through graduate school. Polished white rice. Ramen. Soba. Bottled nametake. Dried shiitake. Nori. Kombu. Rice crackers. Instant miso soup. Soup base. I survived the 1970's by going to Koto Restaurant in downtown Oakland. My roommate and I always shared the sukiyaki with an extra order of rice. In New York City, I found a small Japanese restaurant near Columbia that served a number of authentic side dishes such as kimpira gobo, takuan, negi su-miso and hijiki. I had one or two of these side dishes with rice and miso soup. Then, several authentic sushi restaurants opened, and other Japanese restaurants started up too. By the time I returned to San Francisco in 1979, Japanese restaurants and food stores were common. Thank Heavens!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Lost Skills



1. Playing the piano.
2. Ballet.
3. Translating the original Tale of Genji text.
4. Tailoring a coat.
5. Hand-binding a book.
6. French.
7. Quilling.
8. Squeezing a sea cucumber's guts out.
Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

If Not San Francisco, Then???





I would not like to live anywhere other than San Francisco. Much as I love traveling and adventure, living somewhere connotes rootedness. If I had not come here, I would be living in Japan, and mostly likely I would be living in Kobe, where my family is from. Or perhaps Tokyo, to get away from family. Certain cities are enticing...Paris, Venice, New York, Kyoto, Tokyo, Munich, Jakarta, Guatemala City. But to live in a place connotes fitting in with those around me, having the connections and knowledge to navigate myself within the rules, regulations, practices, and customs of a place. Just as Westerners living in Japan for generations are still regarded as "foreign," I think I would always feel the visible and invisible walls of another city.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Speed Dating Fortune Cookies





At Mike's office holiday party someone felt the need for an ice-breaker. They decided we should play the game of speed-dating. With connotations of lost inhibitions, torrid office romance and convivial hanky panky, it seemed an odd choice for a conservative investment company. Strips of speed-dating-appropriate questions were placed in fish bowls in front us. People laughed nervously, didn't touch them. I saw all those strips of unused paper and contemplated the time it took someone to come up with questions, type them up, print them out, cut them out, bring unwrinkled to the party, place in the bowl. I took a fistful of questions and decided to respond to each one in the course of the year.

Randomly selected, my first question was about earliest memory:
The bright lights of the hospital. Someone saying, "Look her eyes are already open." The feeling of being bathed.